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Posters show struggles and joy of refugees


Students from around the State have put their creative skills to the test as part of the annual Refugee Week poster competition.

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‘Healing’ was the theme of Refugee Week events and activities held from June 19-25, with some students incorporating this into their poster designs.

From the 330 entries received, 85 students from 50 schools were selected to display their designs in an exhibition, which is now running until the end of July.

Two students from Catholic schools were on the winners list – Isabelle Jenkins from St Therese School, Colonel Light Gardens, was runner-up in the primary section and Isabelle Chen from St Aloysius College was runner-up in the secondary section.

Josephine Jiel was one of four students from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College who were finalists in the competition. She was also asked to speak at the awards ceremony on June 22 about her experience as a refugee and the inspiration for her poster design.

“Over 52 diverse cultures and ethnicities are represented at my school…and each student has their own story to tell,” she said.

“My family also has a refugee story. My mum was born and raised in South Sudan, and so were my two older siblings, Jiel my brother and Dhuor my sister.

“My mother walked all the way from South Sudan to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya to escape all the violence and conflict so my siblings could have a better life with no war or conflict. We spent years travelling to and from Kakuma refugee camp just so we could come to Australia.

“This poster competition is an opportunity for students like me to share their stories. I know a lot of students that don’t like sharing the stories because it reminds them of all the pain they went through.

“Designing this poster helps as it is basically me telling my story but as a visual story. For other students who do not know these experiences, this poster project allows for learning and understanding of refugees in Australia.

“My refugee poster symbolises the struggles of mine and every other family that has migrated from another country.”

Josephine said she included fences in her design to signify her family leaving the refugee camp and their old life behind.

“The barb wire that features at the back of my poster is the same kind that was used on me when I was younger,” she explained. “Gaar is part of our culture – a visual way of kin identification. A visual story on our bodies.

“One thing in my poster that I loved was the stamp in the corner. Stamps are small storytelling tools too.

Isabelle Jenkins with her award and poster.

“I added that in my poster because the day I saw that stamp was when I saw we were accepted to come to Australia and it instantly made me happy.”

St Therese Year 4 student Isabelle Jenkins, who was runner-up in the primary award category, said her class focused on the theme of healing for Refugee Week and what that meant to them and for refugees around the world.

“I chose the big heart as a symbol of what we could offer refugees if we united as one,” she said.

“This heart represents what we will do, fix it up, and wrap it up with a bandage. I made a little heart to represent what it may have felt like to have to leave their home and their country. They may feel small and insignificant and feel unloved.”

Year 3 student Asher Greening, whose poster was selected to be exhibited, used a band aid on a hand to represent “helping each other when we fall over or need support”.

“Everyone needs help from each other to feel better,” she said.

Sarah Edis, who is in Year 4, also had her poster exhibited.

“I decided to do a collage to make my artwork stand out,” she said.

St Therese students Asher Greening, Isabelle Jenkins and Sarah Edis.

“I feel that colour is especially important because it creates emotion in the viewer, allowing them to feel for refugees and their struggle.”

St Therese teacher Gabrielle Foster was a mentor to the students during their learning and creation.

The SA Refugee Week Student Poster Exhibition is on display until Friday July 29 in the new Children’s ArtSpace Gallery at the Adelaide Festival Centre.


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